Dear Miss Manners: Since I moved two years ago, I have been walking two blocks to the same local cafe to order morning coffee and café au lait for my wife and me. As a recognized regular patron, I have known almost all of the staff. I always greet them with a warm hello, and they respond in kind – that is, with the exception of a curmudgeon from a cashier.
I know he knows I’m a regular, because he knows our order for drinks by heart, as well as my name. But for whatever reason, he never even tried to be cordial. When I greet him with a friend, “Hello!” he replied gruffly “The usual?” No smile, no greeting, no mention of my name … nothing. He just fulfills my order, takes my payment and that’s it.
Should I discuss his short behavior with the store manager, who is always friendly to me? Or should I just accept that this is his normal behavior? I know it’s a little thing, but it’s really starting to rub me the wrong way.
And your cheerfulness can rub it the wrong way. Still, Miss Manners doesn’t want you to change.
You don’t even have to accept the idea that it will never change. People have different temperaments, and sometimes regular administration of joy can make a difference.
But the worst thing you can do is get him in trouble by reporting him. He is doing his job and it is presumptuous of you to believe that you should be able to control his mood. Besides, that would only show him that your demonstration of goodwill was a mask.
Dear Miss Manners: My husband and I received an invitation to an acquaintance’s 60th birthday, and we were shocked that “monetary gifts only” were requested. She is single and organizes this party for herself, so the fact that an adult woman very clearly asks for money is very offensive (especially when the event does not include dinner and has a cash bar ).
Although we will not be present, this has sparked a debate about what the label would require in this situation. For birthdays or dinners for adults, we usually bring a nice bottle of wine, or whatever, as a thank you to the host. But it is ridiculous to bring an envelope containing money as if it were a party for a 16 year old teenager.
What would be the appropriate label in this case? Are you showing up with money or refusing to attend?
Yes it’s your choice. You should understand that you were not invited to a party, but to a fundraiser. The rules are different.
For a birthday party, you would choose to bring a gift – although for an adult birthday, this is not strictly necessary, and many celebrities try to discourage their guests from doing so. (The easiest way to do this is not to announce the birthday on the invitation, but only at the party itself, allowing guests to protest that they wish they had known to be able to bring something thing.)
But for a fundraiser, it is understood that attendance indicates a desire to support the cause. So only go – and give – if you believe that helping to support this knowledge is a good use of your charitable funds.
New Miss Manners columns are published Monday through Saturday on washingtonpost.com/advice. You can send questions to Miss Manners on her website, missmanners.com.